The good news is that employment is on the rise! The most recent report from the Labor Department issued on December 5th showed that employers added 321,000 jobs in November. According to a report in The New York Times, this is “a much stronger number than economists had predicted and the 10th consecutive month of net job gains above 200,000.”
And if that isn’t enough to get you excited about your job prospects for the New Year, average hourly earnings are also up, significantly surpassing the anticipated 0.2 percent increase.
Of course, it’s not like jobs will magically appear in your Christmas stocking. You still need to know your stuff and do some homework to stay competitive. And being aware of these job search trends can improve your chances of finding a job in 2015.
It’s Who You Know
Ok, it’s what you know too. But it’s unlikely an employer will ever learn what you know unless there’s a good reason for them to seriously consider you. For that, it helps to have a good referral. In a sea of seemingly identical candidates, the word of one trusted colleague to another is the best way for an applicant to get noticed.
And the trend only seems to be gaining. According to Jobvite’s 2014 Social Recruiting Survey, recruiters indicate that 60% of their best job candidates are found through referrals. So now, more than ever, you need to be proactive in making professional connections and talking to friends about your career goals.
(For a refresher on networking, click here)
Social Media Presence a Must
When employers aren’t relying on referrals to fill their open positions, their turning to social media. And those who haven’t bothered to cultivate their social presence might simply be left in the dust.
Social recruiting has become an essential resource in the hunt for qualified job candidates. According to the 2014 Jobvite survey, 73% of recruiters have hired a candidate through social media. And 93% of recruiters review a candidate’s social profile before making a decision. While LinkedIn continues to be a recruiter’s network of choice, Facebook and Twitter are also gaining in popularity.
(Click here for our guide on how to optimize your LinkedIn profile and improve your chances of getting noticed by employers)
And remember to be vigilant about what you post or what anybody else posts about you online. Any inappropriate comments, profanity or compromising photos can kill your chances with an employer.
High Demand for Sales and Marketing Professionals
Job seekers with effective communication and interpersonal skills are needed to fill numerous sales and marketing positions. As a matter of fact, 50% of the recruiters surveyed by Jobvite said that they plan on filling openings in sales in the year ahead, and 41% are hoping to fill positions in marketing. Even if sales isn’t your career goal, it’s an excellent way to get your foot in the door and can lead to other opportunities within the organization.
Proliferation of STEM Careers
Skilled laborers are in high demand, particularly those with STEM educations (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics). Not only do these jobs pay well and offer enormous growth opportunities, they’re also are key to the sustained growth and stability of the U.S. economy, according to the Department of Commerce.
Demand for these jobs is so high that the U.S. has increasingly had to look oversees to fill them. They include medical scientists, biochemists and biophysicists, software developers, actuaries, computer systems analysts, web developers and engineers of all kinds including: biomedical, petroleum, chemical, industrial, and computer science, to name a few.
Mobile Recruiting on the Rise
The mobile phone is increasingly playing a key role in recruiting and job search. According to Jobvite, recruiters use mobile devices to post jobs, search for and contact candidates, and forward resumes to colleagues. And 51% of recruiters have plans to increase their investment in mobile recruiting.
Employers whose companies’ websites are mobile friendly are clearly at an advantage. According to a recent survey by GlassDoor, 9 in 10 job seekers say they’re apt to use their mobile device during their job search in the next 12 months, up seven percentage points from the previous year.
More and more, the big shift is happening online, where both companies and job candidates are relying on technology to hone their brands and reach out to each other.